Typical diets involve significant calorie restriction, leading to rapid weight loss. However, the pounds usually come back as soon as the eating plan ends. So, you go through another cycle of calorie restriction to lose weight again.
Endless yo-yo dieting has a detrimental effect on your physical and mental health. So, how can you end this vicious cycle? We have a few tips that can help you change your lifestyle to shed that weight permanently.
Create Healthier Eating Habits
A significant problem with dieting is the binge eating that occurs during the non-diet phases. There’s no middle ground between extreme calorie deprivation and uncontrolled eating. It’s precisely this balance between the two that you’ll need to find to attain lasting results.
Learning to make wise food choices is one of the first steps toward reaching your health goals. Gradually change your habits to the point where you consume foods low in sugar and fat. Unprocessed foods like the following are a great place to start:
- Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds
- Lean red meats, fish, and poultry
- Other natural protein sources like eggs, beans, and legumes
- Whole grains
- Did I eat healthy foods at meals?
- Did I plan nourishing snacks to help overcome cravings?
- Did I include fruits and vegetables with every meal or snack?
- Did I eat enough whole grains for fiber?
- Did I keep portions small?
- Did I limit food and drinks high in fat and sugar?
- Did I eat when I wasn’t hungry? If so, what made me do it? (What feelings or habits led me to eat?)
Avoiding junk foods like potato chips and pop can help steady your weight. You’ll also want to limit your simple carbohydrates from starchy foods like potatoes. It’s not wise to remove carbs from your diet altogether, though.
If you tend to overeat, it can be challenging to have a clear idea of how much food is enough for you. You may not even notice the amount you’re eating.
Keeping a food diary can help you understand what you typically consume in a day. You can write it on paper or use one of the many purpose-built apps available. At the end of each day, use this record to evaluate your eating habits.
You can ask yourself the following questions each evening in your food diary:
Incorporate Physical Activity
Exercise is an essential component of any weight loss plan. Physical activity helps burn calories and increases your chances of keeping the pounds off.
If you’re not used to exercising, you may want to start with a few minutes of activity at a time. Gradually work up to 30 minutes or more at least four to five days a week. As you get into better shape, you can exercise for more extended periods and try more intense activities.
Almost any kind of movement is beneficial to your health and burns calories. You can start with something as simple as walking the dog or playing with your kids or grandkids. Any physical activity is a step in the right direction because it strengthens your heart and lungs.
If you like biking, swimming, walking, dancing, or mowing your lawn, take advantage of these activities to burn calories. If you have a medical condition or are over 50, check with your doctor before trying any strenuous exercises.
Strength training is essential for maintaining muscle mass as you age. Experts suggest using weights, resistance bands, or your body’s weight for this training a few times a week.
It’s also vital to stretch your muscles at least twice a week after exercising. Stretching improves your flexibility and helps prevent injuries like strained muscles and ligaments.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
Getting enough rest is critical to our well-being. When you sleep poorly or don’t get enough of it, your metabolism slows. As a result, your body burns fewer calories and stores the excess energy as fat.
Insufficient sleep also increases your appetite. Inadequate rest can cause hormonal changes that leave you hungrier. The stress hormone cortisol triggers a need for serotonin, which can result in you craving high-fat and high-sugar foods like chocolate.
If you don’t rest well, making wise choices about what to eat becomes harder. For example, when you can’t get to sleep at night, you may seek out a midnight snack. The more you eat in the evening, the harder it is to shed that weight the next day.
Conversely, too much slumber can also negatively affect your health and add to weight problems. People who oversleep have a greater tendency toward obesity. Snoozing for too long can also lead to memory problems, mood disorders, increased pain and inflammation, and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Treat Emotional Issues that Lead to Overeating
Emotional overeating is a reality for many people. From a very young age, some of us learn that we can use food for comfort when we’re stressed. Early childhood traumas shape behaviors that we often adopt without understanding the root cause.
If you perceive that you’re eating for emotional reasons, take the time to figure out what’s leading you to do so. Seek help from a friend, family member, or therapist. You may need to work through a series of complicated emotions to develop a healthy relationship with food.
Summing It Up
Yo-yo dieting is a widespread practice that can be very harmful to your health. To achieve long-term weight loss, you’ll need to adjust your habits. Learn how to eat healthy food and control your portion size.
Get into the habit of being physically active and getting an adequate amount of sleep. Take the time to get to know yourself deep inside and try to heal any emotional issues that lead to overeating. Doing all of this will make it easier for you to achieve your long-term weight goals and enjoy healthy living.